In spite of the homophobic nature of Nigerian society, the LGBTQ+ rights movement has been very visible in Nigeria. A number of local pro-LGBTQ+ initiatives have sought to challenge the conservative myths and homophobic stereotypes that prevail in the society. One method used for such advocacy has been avant-garde cinema, particularly lesbian or gay films. A case in point is Ikpe-Etim’s 2020 romantic film titled Ife. As an unusual Nollywood movie, Ife strongly makes a case for the human rights of lesbian, bisexual, and queer women in Nigeria. Its very positive representation of what Nigerian legislation and censorial forces consider deviant sexualities has fueled a huge controversy in the Nigerian socio-cultural sphere. This controversy has been understudied. Using Anthonio Gramsci’s concept of hegemony and the feminist film theory as interpretative tools, this paper examines how Ikpe-Etim’s film is both a counter-hegemonic and queer feminist initiative. The paper argues that although Ife contributes to proselytism for LGBTQ+ rights and feminism in Nigeria, it has serious weaknesses and limitations. Despite the producer’s and director’s sexual identities and work as activists, straight Nollywood filmmakers have remained reluctant to join the LGBTQ+ rights movement.
Endong, Floribert Patrick C.
"Nollywood Cinema as a Tool for Pro-Lesbian Advocacy: A Feminist Reading of Unaiedu Ikpe-Etim’s Ife,"
Journal of International Women's Studies: Vol. 25:
4, Article 4.
Available at: https://vc.bridgew.edu/jiws/vol25/iss4/4